A joyous mixture of something old and something new from Max Stannard’s band
On Easter Sunday 2018, Friezland Band gave us all a wonderful concert at The World Famous Boarshurst Band Club®. Max Stannard’s second visit to Boarshurst was as well received as his debut in March 2017. As with last year’s concert he had a penchant for themes which made for an accessible programme.
Friezland Band were formed in 1983 and rehearse at the Uppermill Conservative Club. They have been a community-orientated non-contesting band though briefly a Fourth Section contest band in the mid-1990s. The band has a mix of younger players wishing to start out, and a number of older players. This time, they are ready to return to the contesting fold. From last night’s performance, a welcome return.
Yesterday’s concert had two sub-themes. In the first half, we had some songs from the shows. The second half featured more up-to-date tunes with a 2018 theme – a case of Now That’s What I Call Friezland Brass Band’s Second Half. Besides their currency, there was another dimension to the three pieces (and the fourth in the encore). All were arranged by Max himself who bought the rights early doors. The results of his entrepreneurial vision and arrangements were a joy to behold. Even if you heard (and weren’t too impressed with) the original versions of the songs and switched over to Radio Manchester before you could say ‘Mike Sweeney’.
Whether you made the journey to Boarshurst Band Club or saw the live stream, you had a real Easter treat.
- March: Thundercrest (Eric Osterling, arr. Frank Wright);
- Hymn: The King of Love My Shepherd Is (John Bacchus Dykes);
- Flugelhorn Solo (performed by Jenny Smith): Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison, arr. Christopher Wormald);
- Film Music (from The Pirate): Be A Clown (Cole Porter, arr. Alan Fernie);
- Film Music: Theme from Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (Ron Goodwin, arr. Ray Woodfield);
- Xylophone Solo (performed by David Barker): The Flyer (R. Ridewood/Adolf Lotter, arr. Gregor Grant);
- Light Concert Music: The Can-Can (Offenbach, arr. Alan Fernie);
- Light Concert Music: Soul Bossa Nova (Quincy Jones, arr. Andrew Duncan).
- March: Punchinello (William Rimmer);
- Hymn: St Clement (Rev. Clement Cotteril Scholefield, arr. Christopher Wormald);
- Cornet Solo (performed by David Barker): Sugar Blues (Clarence Williams, arr. Alan Morrison);
- Film Music (from The Little Mermaid): Part of Your World (Alan Menken/Howard Ashman);
- Film Music (from 49th Parallel): Prelude from 49th Parallel (Ralph Vaughan Williams, arr. R. Douglas);
- Popular Music: Don’t Kill My Vibe (Sigrid Raabe/Martin Sjølie, arr. Max Stannard);
- Popular Music: Get Lucky (Nile Rodgers, arr. Max Stannard);
- Popular Music: Strangers (Sigrid Raabe/Martin Sjølie, arr. Max Stannard).
- Popular Music: Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson, arr. Max Stannard).
Act One: Showtime
The first piece set the tone for our concert with its mix of traditional programme pieces and thematic strands. We opened with Thundercrest, a driving march written by Eric Osterling in 1968. The composer is better known for Bandology, a piece he wrote the year before. He was born in West Hartford, Connecticut in 1926. A prolific composer, his other works include We Know Cha-Cha and Give Bass a Taste (which has nothing to do with an iconic Burton-upon-Trent ale). A good start.
This was followed by a hymn entitled The King of Love My Shepherd Is. Written by John Bacchus Dykes it is based on the Welsh version of Psalm 23. It was written in 1868 – one hundred years before the previous piece. 150 years later, Friezland Brass Band gave us a very good rendition of the hymn.
Taking us from the US to the Republic of Ireland (via Wales) came our third piece, and the first soloist of the night. Enter Jenny Smith with her flugelhorn solo of Have I Told You Lately. Written by Van Morrison in 1989 it peaked at 74 in the UK singles chart. Faring better in 1993 was Rod Stewart’s cover version which peaked at number 5. In the end, Van Morrison’s original stood out, inspiring Christopher Wormald’s arrangement. Though under the weather, Jenny gave us a brilliant performance.
Our fourth piece gave us the first mini-theme of the night: stage and screen. We opened with Be A Clown. The song was written by Cole Porter for The Pirate, starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. It is based on a 1942 play with the same name written by S.N. Behrman. With this piece we saw Friezland Band letting their hair down. Be A Clown was only the start of what became a lively finale to the first half.
After their sublime performance, this was followed by the theme music from Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. The film was released in 1965, starring Terry Thomas, Robert Morley, and Sarah Miles with an ensemble cast. It is set in 1910 and based on a screenplay entitled Flying Crazy. Another good performance.
This was followed by the rarest of beasties in a brass band concert – at least in Boarshurst Band Club. That of a xylophone solo by the multi-talented David Barker (more on him later). His piece was R. Ridewood’s/A. Lotter’s The Flyer, a piece which has been termed as a ‘golden oldie’ in light concert music terms. Written as a light orchestral piece it feel more at home as circus music. A real delight for the ears.
After David’s bit of ear candy came another cracker. Taken from Orpheus in the Underworld, we were treated to Offenbach’s best known work, The Can Can. The piece (quoting from a well-known user-led encyclopedia) entails “the vigorous manipulation of skirts and petticoats”. Or an overweight bloke from Bad Manners shouting “naaa-na-na-na-na-naa-naa…” in their 1981 cover version. Though we didn’t have Buster Bloodvessel, we had party poppers and another good take on the Can-Can.
Here’s one for the pub quizzers: besides Brian Fahey’s At The Sign on the Swinging Cymbal, name another tune that has been used in Alan Freeman’s Pick of the Pops? You will be surprised to find that Quincy Jones’ Soul Bossa Nova was one of them. Written in 1967 by the soon-to-become legendary producer, it is best known for its use in the Austin Powers film franchise. All in all, a very good first half.
Act Two: Now That’s What I Call Friezland Brass Band Volume Two
The start of the second half stuck to the same formula as our first one. That of an opening march, hymn, soloist, two pieces of film music, and our thematic strand. We kicked off with Punchinello by William Rimmer, a sure sign that Whit Friday was on its way (53 days at the time of last night’s concert). If you are the proud owner of Brian and Michael’s 1978 Number One hit single Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs, part of it is the hook.
Our next piece was as far away from Salford’s smoky tops as you could get. This time our hymn was St. Clement, a beautiful arrangement of the Rev. Clement Cotteril Scholefield piece by Christopher Wormald. It is a popular tune to The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended. In Rick Wakeman’s album The Six Wives of Henry VIII, it is the tune used for Anne Boleyn. Two tunes in one if you know your hymns and solo albums by one-time members of Yes. Once more, well played.
The third solo performance came from our second soloist of the night. This time we see David Barker on cornet playing Sugar Blues. The Clarence Williams piece was popularised by Clyde McCoy and noted for its wah-wah muting effects. These were reproduced faithfully in the Alan Morrison arrangement performed by David. Great stuff, and a worthy addition as a light concert item.
After Max’s claim he had never heard of Alan Freeman, we enjoyed a tune from Max’s childhood. That of Alan Menken’s and Howard Ashman’s Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid. Sung by Jodi Benson it is often (criminally) overlooked by Under The Sea. For yours truly, a piece that I had heard before though unable to find the name. It was well received by all at Boarshurst.
Offering a real contrast was our next film score. This time from a propaganda film directed by Michael Powell, designed to sway neutral US audiences. Entitled 49th Parallel, its cast (including Laurence Olivier, Anton Walbrook, and Leslie Howard) decided to waive part of their fee to the International Red Cross. We were treated to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Prelude from 49th Parallel. Another good piece which took us to the raffle.
Following the Easter Raffle came the first of three (four counting the encore) Max Stannard arranged pieces. The first three linked in with his 2018 theme. First off was Sigrid’s Don’t Kill My Vibe. Though a minor hit in the UK Singles Chart, enough people downloaded it to give the song a Silver Disc. Earlier this year, Sigrid won the BBC Music Sound of 2018 award. Max’s sound of 2018 was a hit in our corner of Saddleworth.
Next up was a modern-day classic thanks to Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, and Daft Punk. That of the toe-tapping Get Lucky a monster hit around the world in 2013. As well as ending a 13-year hiatus since their last Top Ten single, Daft Punk’s best known tune was a million seller (1,308,000 that year). Max’s arrangement was inspired by the alternate mix played by Nile Rodgers in Jools Holland’s Hootenanny. Another smash.
For our last non-encore piece we returned to Sigrid’s second best known single Strangers. This entered the UK Official Charts countdown in November 2017 and peaked at Number 10. It is also her first ever Number One single – in Scotland and Croatia. Another fine arrangement by Max and – for the audience – a painless introduction to the hottest hits in brass band form.
With the last three pieces, and our encore number, he made amends for his lack of knowledge on Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman in a brilliant way. By giving us all a taste of today’s music without having to change from BBC Radio Manchester to Capital FM. We finished with Bruno Mars’ and Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk, another monster hit: 2,509,000 copies sold in the UK and a Number One hit. Needless to say, another monster hit in Boarshurst Band Club which ended a most enjoyable concert.
Last night’s programme was as accessible for regular concertgoers as well as newcomers. Max made a good move in getting the rights to modern day songs and making his own arrangements. Not only on entrepreneurial grounds but also for new entrants to brass banding. Younger people may get more enjoyment playing their favourite songs instead of something their grandparents listened to years ago. Then they will want to learn brass banding standards – hymns, marches, test pieces, light concert items. Or cross over to other musical genres.
Twenty years from now, Get Lucky and Uptown Funk will be solid gold classic songs in any form. Like The Beatles’ canon has for over fifty years. How long will it be before teenage brass banders choose to play Ed Sheeran’s works on a flugelhorn?
We wish Friezland Band the very best of luck in their endeavours and welcome their return to the contesting fold. With Max at the helm, onwards and upwards.
Next Week at Boarshurst…
We go from one of the youngest brass bands to the world’s oldest: Stalybridge Old Band. They were formed in 1809 and, for the most part of its existence, hovered around the First and Second Sections. Of late they have been a Third Section band conducted by David W. Ashworth.
On the 16 August 1819 they performed in a concert organised by the Manchester Patriotic Union Society. They were a group which agitated for the repeal of the Corn Laws and radical political reform. This was part of an event which took place on St. Peter’s Fields, which later became known as The Peterloo Massacre. In 1840 they became the first brass band to use piston valved brass instruments.
Next week they will also have a special guest with Black Dyke connections – from New Zealand. Doors open at 7pm for an 8pm start.
- 180: Greenfield [Clarence Hotel] – Lees – Oldham – Hollinwood – Manchester [Oldham Street];
- 350: Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Greenfield – Uppermill – Dobcross – Delph – Waterhead – Oldham.
Alight at the former Greenfield Conservative Club. Both services operated by First Greater Manchester.
Twitter details: @boarshurstband; #SundayBrass.
S.V., 02 April 2018.